Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Little Mermaid

The well-known children’s movie, The Little Mermaid, is a household favorite for many families. With a plot line that, on the surface, seems innocent and sweet have some people worried about the underlying issues it could cause in its young viewers. Like in so many other situations there are two sides to the story. In this fairy tale of love, good conquering evil, and eternal happiness there are dark aspects that, when analyzed, could cause the viewer to question the morals that are being taught. Ariel is a beautiful young mermaid who sees the world outside of the ocean as a wonderful place that she would like to explore with a man that she finds very enticing, unfortunately, her father is the king of the ocean kingdom and doesn’t view the humans the way Ariel does. The strong-minded young girl makes the decision to disobey her father and do all she can to explore the outside world. This decision is something that a lot of people see as a positive part of the movie, it’s a “coming of age” scene where Ariel takes the initiative to be her own woman and claim her independence. This is a day that comes in every young woman’s life and not letting the opinions of others influence her is an example to young girls that can be very important, but the way she goes about it is what raises a question in many critics minds. Ariel goes on a quest to find a way to trade her tail in for legs and go find the prince she in convinced she is in love with. Seeking the help of an evil sea witch named Ursula whom her father had banished, Ariel finds her ticket to the human world. The young princess signs a contract stating that in order to get her legs she must make the prince fall in love with her in three days on land. This contract would be much less disturbing if it weren’t for the fact that she had to do this without a voice and the way Ursula would know the prince was “in love” with Ariel was that the prince would kiss her. The moral dilemma behind this contract is very hard to overlook. First, the premise that the 16 year old girl could find “true love” without speaking a single word to a man she had never met before is just plain disturbing. This instills in young girls that all you need is to be physically attractive to make men love you and I think all parents could come to a consensus that their little girls have much more important qualities than that. On top of the shallow values depicted by the first part of the contract the second part is what seems the worst to me. It states that after seducing a man with your looks, the way you know that he really loves you with his whole heart is through is sexual desire for you. In my opinion the negative aspects of this movie prevail as the pros of what your children may learn from it are much less powerful than the cons.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Blog 4: The Incredibles

One of my favorite movies while I was growing up was The Incredibles. It is the story about a family of super heroes who struggle to fit in because super powers have been banned by the government. The father, Mr. Incredible misses his life of adventure when he was fighting crime but because the government views them as a risk to public safety, he can no longer do what he wants. However, when he is chosen by a suspicious woman who needs his help on a remote island to fight robots, he jumps on the opportunity. While I loved the movie because of its humor, action, and story, I never really paid attention to the messages it implied. My top three are that it shows children to be themselves, teamwork is crucial to success, and to not dwell in the past.
Throughout the beginning of the movie the two kids, Violet and Dash have trouble fitting in at school because the other kids and faculty are aware of their powers. No guys really want to hangout with Violet because they think she is different. And Dash gets accused of things he didn't do simply because of his powers. For example, someone put a tac on the teacher's chair and because of Dash's super speed he is immediately the first suspect. Also, He can not go out for sports because it would not be fair to the other kids. The movie teaches us to stand out and be the best we can be. The second Violet accepts that her powers are gifts and not curses everyone begins to love her and the guys want to be with her. 
The Second lesson is that teamwork is crucial.The villian of the movie, Syndrome, is a hot headed guy who thinks he is the smartest man ever. He has no friends or other super villains on his side.On, the other hand, Mr. Incredible has his family along with his best friend Frozone. He has an entire team that makes it possible to achieve success. That is what the movie is ultimately trying to convey, that success is only possible when you have those who care for you and are willing to work together with you to succeed.
Lastly, the movie teaches us not to dwell in the past. Many of the problems to begin with come from Mr. Incredibles past. Because of those problems he forces himself to stick with a boring job and attempt to be a regular boring dad. While on the Island Violet constantly remembers that her powers were the reason no really liked her in the first place, so she is hesitant to use them when her family needs them the most. One of the characters, Edna Mode has a great quote in the film. She says, "I never look back darling, it distracts me from the now." The movie is trying to teach us that dwelling over your mistakes you've made only hinders you're ability to do better in the future. Of course, you can learn from them, but if you define yourself by them, you will run into trouble.
The Incredibles has many life lessons that now that I am older, I can understand and use in my life.

Friday, April 10, 2015

High School Musical

High School Musical

High School Musical is a movie that broadcast a diverse cast of characters all which have a lot of talent and end up staging a show together. A message that High School Musical sends is that you can do whatever you’d like and shouldn't have to stick to the social norms or “status quo” of society if it isn't what makes you happy. Troy learns that he should do what makes him happy even if he looks weird or funny to his father or to his other classmates. Along the same lines, this movie tells kids that they shouldn't care what others think of them and to keep confidence and positivity. Even if you’re steered by a family member or peer pressured into something that you don’t really want to do, you should keep trying at your goals and dreams and work while being confident. I believe that this could positively effect children who watch HSM by making them want to do the same and be prideful if they're ever shamed for their hobbies. Troy and Gabriella making themselves happy is the centeral plot of the first movie, many children from my generation and below struggle with that. I think that the pursuance of dreams in High School Musical will get more kids to believe they can accomplish things even if others around them think that they are incapable or shame them for doing so. 

Many negative messages show up in High School Musical in all three of the movies. In the first movie Troy and Gabriella become very dependent on each other from the beginning. They do everything together and never really ever separate. This is an unrealistic representation for relationships for children. Also Sharpay and Ryan, even though they are brother and sister, have an abusive relationship where she's the queen and he is very much her servant and helper. She pushes him around and he never retaliates or sticks up for himself. Sharpay is also a bully throughout all the movies and is praised for it. Everyone looks to her as the ruler of the school and the one that knows everything even though she puts everyone down. Nothing ever comes crashing down for her till the last movie but that didn't come out till a few years later. As far as the first movie goes she still get she lead of the musical, her teacher’s still respects her and she still has friends and brother by her side. In the third movie she even gets a person to follow her around as her “number one fan” and wants to be the next school queen and bully. 

High School Musical shows bad messages of bullying as well as gossiping. The students conversations consist of gossiping 90% of the time at least. It shows children that High School is supposed to be clique and gossipy and that you have to find yourself by associating with one group. A positive element of High School musical is that Troy and Gabriella break away from the school social norms and do what makes them happy. They audition for the play confidently and get great results because of it. Even though abusive and dependent relationships are a big theme in the movie, the theme of them going towards their dreams and aspirations is more prevalent. I do believe that children could want a relationship like Troy and Gabriella because they're so happy together, but I don't think it could be completely mimicked at the age the movie is targeted to, therefor it isn't very detrimental. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ice Age : Continental Drift

Ice age is one of the famous 3D animated movies that was released in 2012. One of the negative messages we observe in the movie are related with the bad manners and bad behavior depicted through the characters. For instance, one of the scenes shows that how Scrat the squirrel puts apple in his mouth and then give it to his friend Deigo. These types of scenes create a sense of humiliation for the food. Especially for the young ones, these scenes do not prove to be good as they do what they see in the movies. 

Similarly, some other negative messages are associated with the bad behavior of Peaches when she argues with her parents and does not obey their orders. She depicts such type of behavior due to the peer pressure. The following scene also shows a conversation between Peaches and her father where she argues with her dad about having friendship with boys. As when she says
“ when will I have friendship with the boys,” and her father says “ when I am dead”. This shows that how her character is portrayed in a rude and aggressive manner.  Her annoyance is prevalent in the scenes that give a negative impact on the audience.
In addition to this, such types of scenes also trigger to the effects of gender discrimination in the society. The gender discrimination is evident in the movie through such types of conversation. Such types of scenes clearly depict that a girl cannot be a friend of a boy that poses a threat to the equality between both genders.

Some other messages that come from the movie are related with the bad words used in it. For instance one of them includes “bad ass mother” which is clearly stated in the movie. Such kinds of bad words create a negative effect on the children and they start to swear and use abusive language that affects the environment in a negative way.

Apart from the negative scenes in the movie there are also several positive messages depicted in the movie. These are related with love, friendship and family. The movies through various clips show how love and friendship always wins the hearts of audience. It also shows how one should remain close to each other through the ties of friendship and love. The following clip shows friendship and love between Ethan and Peaches. This occurred when Peaches fell on Ethan.   

Some other positive messages are evident from the title song of the movie that focuses on the lyrics of family and love. “We are family” as the title of the song gives a message that no matter in which part of the individuals live all the creatures are like a family. Even though one has to face quarrels with others, yet the message of love and attachment is evident throughout the whole movie. The following clip showing Deigo and his friends holding tight each other shows a clear message to the children about love and affection.